Tues Sept 21
Hike report by Nancy L. Photos by Nancy/Randy
Connecticut Hill — Cabin Road loop
5 hikers met at the corner of Rowell Hill Rd and Carter Creek Rd to drive the dirt portion of Carter Creek Rd out past Cabin Rd to the start of the hike. The hike start is about 3 miles SW on Carter Creek from the intersection. We started the hike by going west up the hill from Carter Creek Rd for a 500 ft climb through nice mixed pine forest nearly to “Ridge Road” (the north south portion of Connecticut Hill Rd). This is just about the only climb of the hike so its nice that its at the beginning.
When we reached nearly the top of the ridge, we turned right on a trail that headed through the woods making a connection with the finger lakes trail. It was only a short walk on the FLT before we cut off on a trail through a nice piece of woods dotted with mushrooms (especially the white corals) over to Cabin.
After crossing Cabin Rd a trail down alongside a ravine went quickly but gently downhill to a beautiful Western branch of Carter Creek. At the point of intersection of this ravine with the creek there was a steep portion that we scrambled down with the aid of a fixed climbing rope. At this point along the Western branch of Carter Creek there is a series of very nice cascades that we stopped to appreciate. We next took a trail on the other side of the creek that followed the creek back down to Carter Creek Rd. We turned right on Carter Creek road following it South on our way back to the cars. This involved our final climb up out of the canyon.
One last treat is that we stopped to check out an old dam on the creek. This ruin is quite elaborate with a big hunk of dam tipped over in the creek and quite a bit of wall standing on the West side of the creek, complete with a series of steps that was built as a spillway. It was a short walk from there back to the cars.
More photos by Randy/Nancy here
Wed Sept 22
Hike report by Jim
Virgil Mountain, Cortland County
Eight hikers met on Odell Rd in Cortland County for a hike to the top of Virgil Mountain.
The morning was cool, and as usual I arrived at our parking area well ahead of the rest of our group.As I waited for the group to assemble I observed the transitioning trees around me shedding their leaves with the approach of even cooler days ahead of us. During the hike much of the footpath was nicely covered in an array of freshly fallen fall-colored leaves.
A couple of section hikers who were doing part of the Cortland cross-county hike arrived and set off down the FLT in the opposite direction.
Our group arrived and after a few introductions we set off up the road to where the Trail enters the woods ahead of a long and steady climb to the peak.
Walking the footpath I noticed that except for a few really wet spots there wasn’t much in the way of real mud; more like a semi-firm substance that our feet sank into but was clearly supporting the lighter forest animals who ran across its surface and left their footprints behind.
Water crossings were not difficult, with relatively little water flowing in the streambed; just enough to audibly welcome your approach to one of the small handful of crossings on this stretch of the FLT.
At one point we encountered a sign warning hikers of ground bees along a certain stretch of trail, but we passed through without attracting unwanted attention from stinging insects.
Arriving at Van Donsel Rd the group paused before proceeding up the mountain.
Eventually the FLT reached the top of the ski area at Greek Peak. The group paused there to examine the ski apparatus in its off-season hibernation before returning to the FLT and continuing up the hill.
By now a gloom, almost twilight in its depths, had settled over the Trail footpath. Gusting winds warned of rain in the near future.
Beyond the ski resort the hills ease up a bit, although the path continues a slow and steady ascent. Eventually the group passed the actual peak of Virgil Mountain, which is noted by the USGS disk and orange marker found there.
Continuing onwards the group came to its final destination, the overlook area by the line of industrial power lines. The view across the valley was somewhat diminished due to the trees still being leafed out, but there was still enough visible to make the climb worthwhile.
Mindful of the changing weather the group retreated, returning along the same route we had used. By the time we arrived back at Odell Rd a few raindrops had been felt and our windshields bore mute testimony as to the misting precipitation that was passing through the area.
All in all, another successful hike.
Sat Sept 25
Hike report by Randy. Photos by Randy/Nancy
Connrcticut Hill — Carter Creek loop
|Seventeen hikers and seven dogs met at the easy-to-access corner of Boylan and Lloyd Starks Roads. Plenty of parking and only a short, well-maintained section of gravel road make this an ideal spot to meet-up for a number of hikes.|
The weather was cool and it felt like the short summer was in our rearview mirror.
From the cars it was a short distance to our trailhead, which headed west into the “wedge”. The trail was a little muddy in spots, but overall, a pleasant way to start off. We eventually curved southeast, travelling along a lively stream, then crossed over Boylan Road. After counting heads, we continued.
The trail south of Boylan followed Carter Creek gently downhill going due south. It then made an abrupt turn to the east for a short, but steep, uphill…everyone was warmed up now! We then picked up an old road that followed the contour of the east-facing slope until we reached Carter Creek Road. Along the way we spotted what we think might be a fisher den…two cantelope-size holes about ten feet apart. Nancy had found a fisher skull there a couple of weeks before but it was gone.
After regrouping, we took a short walk along the road, crossing the creek and giving the dogs time to clean up and get a drink. On the east side of Carter Creek we picked up the easy-to-find trail going northerly along what was once a road. Some sections had dramatic drop-offs to the creek below, but it would be hard to fall unless assisted by a couple of the young dogs that were playing a lively game of “tag” around the hikers.
Eventually, we arrived at a gorgeous pond where the red-leafed trees and bright blue sky reflected in the water…nice photo op. We skirted a muddy spot before finding our way over to Lloyd Starks Road. It was exactly two hours from when we started, and four miles overall. In a few minutes we were all back at the cars.
Overall, it was a good day for a hike…clear skies, cool temps, some new hikers, and almost zero
More photos from Randy/Nancy here
Photos by Cian
More photos from Cian here
Sun Sept 26
Hike report by Jim. Photos by Cian
Level Green Road to Blackman Hill Road and beyond on the FLT, Caroline
16 hikers and 2 dogs met on Level Green Rd for a hike of the FLT towards Blackman Hill RD and beyond. The day was cool but clear.
Hikers found the lower sections of the Trail closer to Level Green Rd to be wet and muddy, but this is its normal state most of the time.
Freshly fallen leaves in places obscured the footpath, requiring close attention to the blazes
The path was a slow gentle climb in elevation, winding its way through the trees and across a couple of water crossings. Soon enough the ground was firmer, the mud being left behind. The pine forests we were walking through seemed a little dark, what some people in the group call “atmospheric”.
Soon enough the group reached Blackman Hill Rd, where conditions seemed to be much sunnier than what we had left just few minutes earlier.
Plunging back into the woodline the group soon came out into the fields overlooking the valley below in all directions. There air was clear without a trace of haze to lessen visibility.
After pausing for a few quick pictures the group continued onwards, hiking into the woods and down the hillside that eventually brings a hiker out onto State Route 79. This is a section of the Trail that we’ll lose access to during the long months of “hunting season” that start next week. The terrain here was somewhat steeper than what we were hiking earlier, but the forest was more dispersed and lighter than what we had been walking through in the beginning of the hike.
Reaching our turn-around point just before the beginning of the steep descent towards Slaterville RD, the group turned around and re-traced our steps without incident.
By the end of the hike everyone seemed to rate this one as a successful hike.
You can see Cian’s complete photo album here
Our nature photographer Annie created a delightful montage of photos of Eckhart hiking over the years for his 89th birthday a year ago — she sent it to me after seeing this year’s 90th birthday salute in last week’s hike report — it’s a wonderful little tribute, and well worth looking at again this year. Click here.